Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who served as defensive coordinator with the Bears in 2006 when they reached the Super Bowl, is impressed with what he’s seen of his former team on tape.
“As you watch these guys, you watch a team that’s very opportunistic,” Rivera said in advance of Sunday’s game at Soldier Field. “They go out and they attack the ball and they get the football. It’s almost reminiscent of 2006. In fact, I think this group could be better, I really do.”
The Bears defense leads the NFL in points allowed per game (13.0), takeaways (21) and sacks per game (3.5). The unit has fueled a four-game winning streak by scoring five touchdowns while only allowing three TDs in wins over the Rams, Cowboys, Jaguars and Lions.
“Their front four can rush as well as anybody in the league and they can get after the quarterback with just four guys,” Rivera said. “Then, you watch the way the linebackers attack. These guys are downhill football players. They are physical, they are playmakers.
“And then I think their DBs are opportunistic. You look at what Charles Tillman does and the way he is redefining stripping and knocking the football out I think is really a true testament to that defensive philosophy that has been there for quite some time.”
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